A foremost social science research institute in the Bikol region, the Ateneo Social Science Research Center (ASSRC)
began as the Research and Service Center (RSC) of the Ateneo de Naga. The RSC was created to assume the dual function of assisting the university administrationation in institutional planning and management, and undertaking community extension programs. For the first three years after its creation, RSC's activities were confined to studies that addressed the planning and community extension needs of the school. On its third year of operation (1973), the Institute of Philippine Culture (IPC) of the Ateneo de Manila University sought its assistance in establishing a research unit in Bikol to serve the needs of the Bikol River Basin Development Program Office (BRBDPO) which was created in the same year. Thus was formed the Social Survey Research Unit (SSRU) with the eminent anthropologist/sociologist Fr. Frank X. Lynch, S.J. as its first director. Based at the Ateneo de Naga, the SSRU engaged the services of a number of RSC personnel in conducting research studies for the BRBDPO. Consequently, the RSC through its tie-up with IPC-SSRU, became involved in survey work for BRBDPO from late 1973 to mid 1976.
The earlier activities of the RSC focused on the establishment of cooperatives in neighboring communities. In 1981, the arrival of four new graduates from the Ateneo de Manila University led to a significant expansion of the RSC's community extension program. RSC then paved the way for the creation of the Social Integration Office (SIO) as a separate school unit entrusted with the task of operationalizing the urgent thrust of the Jesuit education for "the promotion of justice in the service of faith" through student formation. Subsequently, SIO was renamed Center for Community Development (CCD) pursuing community development activities among farmers, tribal groups, workers, the youth, and the urban poor in Naga City.
With the creation of the SIO (now CCD) as a separate school unit, the RSC continued to conduct in-house research for the school's corporate planning while shifting it focus to social science research. The shift was made possible following the phase-out of the SSRU in 1979 after the termination of its contract with the BRBDPO. This development enabled the RSC to engage the services of a pool of SSRU-trained researchers for its expanding research projects. In 1991, RSC assumed the name Social Science Research Center (SSRC) to express more accurately its new functions. Since 1976, the SSRC has undertaken over seventy research projects for local, national and international organizations. In 1998, the SSRC was renamed Ateneo Social Science Research Center (ASSRC).
With the formulation of CORPLAN 2000, the ASSRC was given the mandate of training undergraduate students on research so as to fulfill the objective of cultivating a culture of research among college students in the university. Thus, the creation of Ateneo Student Researchers Pool (ASRP) in July 2000.
Today, The Ateneo Social Science Research Center (ASSRC)
undertakes studies on concrete human life situations in Bicol especially of the marginalized, articulates learnings and insights without compromising the truth, and links them with broader policy issues in a globalizing world.
The goals of ASSRC are:
♦ To establish a data bank on relevant socio-cultural, economic and political information on Bicol and the Philippines, and provide mechanisms for their utilization;
♦ To conduct studies on socio-economic, political and cultural issues concerning development, particularly those affecting the marginalized sectors/groups of Bicol and relating them to the global community;
♦ To conduct studies on university concerns for academic and non-academic policy formulation and decision-making;
♦ To provide capability-building trainings on research and social formation for the different units within the university and for outside groups/agencies;
♦ To provide avenues for staff trainings and development.